Prose

Jay Vera Summer

I've Come Upon Some Humans

 

“Harv. Is The. Best,” Matt said in a robotic voice. He then pushed his voice recorder into his pocket, stood on the pegs jutting out from either side of the Dyno’s rear wheels, and gripped Harv’s shoulders. Harv was his best friend because Harv was awesome. Harv was two years older, but Matt was a little taller and a lot wider so it evened out.

Harv rode slowly at first, climbing the hill out of their cul de sac. He stood on the pedals and moved the bike from side to side beneath him to help gain momentum and Matt held on tight to keep his balance. Harv turned left at the corner and they flew down the hill, past houses and trees. Matt felt his hair blowing around his head. When they hit flat ground again, they were at the school. Harv pulled into the parking lot then skidded the bike to a stop and they both hopped off. Matt ran toward the playground equipment, speaking into his voice recorder: “Now I will test the humans’ recreational materials.”

“You’re a weirdo, Matt!” Harv yelled. “A-B-C-ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” He jumped back on the Dyno, pealed across the blacktop, and started climbing the hill with his bike.

“Slow down!” Matt yelled, running after, quickly becoming winded. After half a block, the distance between them was so large Matt began walking. When he couldn’t see Harv any more, he pulled out his voice recorder.

“Humans are a cruel and unusual species,” Matt said into the mic, panting. “They think things are funny that are not funny. I shouldn’t have left my bike in the spaceship.”    

In addition to being Matt’s best friend, Harv was Matt’s arch nemesis. He’d peed on Matt once when they got in an argument while playing street hockey. It wasn’t personal—Harv had peed on a couple of other neighbor kids too over the years—but Matt was still mad about it.

After turning onto his street, Matt stopped and picked a bunch of purple and white flowers from a tree branch hanging over the sidewalk. He turned on the recorder. “I’ve come upon a new object. We don’t have this in outer space. Is it food? I will find out.” He took a bite of the flower and spit petals onto the street. “It is not! Red alert! Do not eat purple and white flowers!”

As Matt neared his house, he saw his sister Jessica, Harv, and two other neighbors, Little Steve and The Other Jessica, sitting cross-legged in a circle in the driveway. He spoke into the mic. “I’ve come upon some humans. Please be ready for backup. I repeat, be ready for backup.”

Matt walked in a circle around the group’s circle. “One of them appears to be writing with a utensil onto a paper. Maybe the paper was made from a tree,” he recorded. “I will check.” He leaned over Jessica and tapped the paper she was writing on.

“Leave us alone!” she said. “We’re writing a play. Harv’s going to star in it.”

“Yeah dude, you’re too young,” Harv said.

“But Little Steve is doing it and he’s my age!” Matt said.

“I had a birthday,” Little Steve said. “I’m eight now.”

Everyone stared at Matt. He turned his recorder on. “I will now test the limits of the humans. I am going to retrieve my laser sword. I just remembered I brought it here and locked it in a safe.” He walked to the garage and entered the code into the number pad—1985, his year of birth. The garage opened and he grabbed a large, rusted shovel. He walked toward the circle. Everyone had moved closer to his sister, huddling in to see what she wrote. They didn’t notice him. He lifted the shovel above his head and yelled, “Now that I’ve determined the humans are an evil race, I will defeat them!”

Everyone looked up.

“Oh my God,” Harv said.

The Other Jessica screamed.

Little Steve stood up and ran away, toward his house.

“Put the shovel down,” Jessica said. Harv and The Other Jessica leaned closer to her, so the three of their heads were almost touching.

“It is not a shovel. It is a laser sword, and I will use it to defeat the evil human, Harv!” Matt’s hands shook above him and the shadow of the shovel tottered over Harv’s face and the pavement.

“Matt,” Jessica said, “I’ll let you eat frosting for lunch.”

“My name is not Matt,” Matt said, raising the shovel higher. “I am not an evil human like you, and I do not know about this object called frosting.”

“You’re crazy, man,” Harv said, panting.

“Humans love frosting,” Jessica said. “It tastes sweet. You can have the whole can, and I’ll tell mom I ate it.”

Matt looked from his sister to Harv and screamed as loudly as he could. He swung the shovel down hard, turning at the last second so it hit the driveway two feet away from Harv. The head of the shovel broke off, leaving a bright white, powdery dent in the driveway where it had landed.

Harv stood and ran across the street toward his house, turning frequently to look at Matt.

“It’s okay,” Jessica yelled to Harv. She then looked at The Other Jessica. “It’s okay,” she said again. She turned to Matt. “Would you like the frosting now?”

Matt pulled the recorder out of his pocket.

“More time is needed to study the humans.”


Jay Vera Summer is a writer and artist living in Florida. She loves animals, plants, and water. Her work may be found in marieclaire.com, Proximity, Luna Luna Magazine, and more. She cofounded the online literary magazine weirderary. Find her at jayverasummer.com or @jayverasummer on social media. 

Emily Corwin